Anti-Tumorigenic Effects of Resveratrol in Lung Cancer Cells Through Modulation of c-FLIP

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2017;17(7):669-680. doi: 10.2174/1568009617666170315162932.


Background: Resveratrol has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties in multiple cancer types. Here we demonstrate that H460 lung cancer cells are more susceptible to resveratrol treatment in comparison to human bronchial epithelial Beas-2B cells. Resveratrol decreases cell viability and proliferation, and induces significant apoptosis in H460 cells. The apoptosis observed was accompanied by an increase in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production, Bid, PARP and caspase 8 activation, and downregulation of pEGFR, pAkt, c-FLIP and NFkB protein expression. Furthermore, treatment with HH2O2 scavenger catalase significantly inhibited resveratrol-induced c-FLIP downregulation, caspase-8 activation and apoptosis. Overexpression of c-FLIP in H460 cells (FLIP cells) resulted in the inhibition of resveratrol-induced HH2O2 production, and a significant increase in resveratrolinduced apoptosis in comparison to H460 cells. In FLIP cells, catalase treatment did not rescue cells from a decrease in cell viability and apoptosis induction by resveratrol as compared to H460 cells. Resveratrol treatment also led to VEGF downregulation in FLIP cells. Furthermore, inhibition of pEGFR or pAkt using erlotinib and LY294002 respectively, enhanced the negative effect of resveratrol on FLIP cell viability and apoptosis. The reverse was observed when FLIP cells were supplemented with EGF, or transfected with WT-AKT plasmid; resulting in a 20% decrease in resveratrol-induced apoptosis. In addition, transfection with WT-AKT plasmid resulted in the inhibition of pro-apoptotic protein activation, and c-FLIP and pAkt downregulation.

Conclusion: Overall, resveratrol induced apoptosis in H460 lung cancer cells by specifically targeting pAkt and c-FLIP dowregulation by proteasomal degradation in a EGFR-dependent manner.

Keywords: Akt; Lung cancer; apoptosis; c-FLIP; hydrogen peroxide; resveratrol.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / genetics
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein
  • CFLAR protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Stilbenes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Resveratrol